Men should seek immediate help when experiencing a long-term erection.
Urologists routinely diagnose and treat men who struggle with erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, they also diagnose and treat men who experience an unwanted, long-term erection. This condition, formally called Priapism, is a long-term erection that will not abate after sexual stimulation has ended or ejaculation has occurred.
By definition, a long-term erection is characterized as one that lasts several hours, and is the result of blood that engorges the penis without subsiding. When blood fails to return to a natural circulation, it can cause intense pain, and possible irreversible damage.
Typically men experience two types of long-term erection: ischemic or low-flow priapism, and non-ischemic or high-flow priapism. In simple terms, ischemia is used to describe an insufficient supply of blood, to any body part, generally caused by an obstruction. Low-flow priapism describes blood that is trapped in the penis causing long-term erection, pain, and possible damage. Healthcare professionals advise immediate medical attention if this type of erection has lasted for up to four hours. To minimize possible damage, medical help should realistically be sought earlier, and never past 24 hours. High-flow priapism is typically associated with groin injuries.
Long-term erection can result as a side-effect of erectile dysfunction medications. However, there are several other known causes including:
• Prescription medications
• Recreational drugs (cocaine, marijuana)
• Underlying medical conditions
• Groin injuries
• Blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia and Leukemia
• Idiopathic or unknown causes
When seeking treatment for a long-term erection, the healthcare provider may administer one of the following methods:
• Ice packs – This first line option involves applying an ice pack to the penis in an effort to reduce swelling.
• Aspiration – This option involves removing blood from the penis through a needle and syringe.
• Medication injection into the penis to reduce the erection.
• Surgery – If all other treatment options fail, the provider may choose a surgical technique to restore normal blood flow in the penis.
If you experience a long-term erection that has not subsided after several hours, seek immediate help from a qualified Urologist by calling the Urology Austin office nearest you. It’s important to allow the healthcare provider to evaluate the condition, isolate its cause, and administer the appropriate treatment option before permanent damage occurs.